A performance piece by Arpita Akhanda based on the poem খেদ (Khēda) by artist Asim Akhanda on15th August 2016.
25 minutes approx.
English Translation of the poem:
If I had perished that day instantly, silently forever,
Hit by the bullet of the white man,
Never would I have been born
Washed anew in the blood of our partition,
Never could I have welded my blood with it,
Never would I have burned in the pain of this incision.
Yes, I live
Although not worth a living,
The thorns of partition
Still make me bleed
The thorns also suffer
Albeit the sacrifice they suffer,
My friend tell me
Who shall judge the truth?
The books of Rashbehari, Chitta, Subhas
Or Rana and Bankim!
Alas! This land bears such enemies,
Like Mir Jafar they cannot also be trusted,
They live and eat upon this land,
Yet in the outsider’s interest they offer help?
The cox turns deaf unto them
But stop those who love their land.
The enemy thus digs a dagger
Happily into our mother’s heart
The men of our country
Shall yet again be under their feet –
If the rulers do not change their ways.
Thus I call upon my men
To hold the helm of the country,
Do everything you can
Give your life if needed.
You are free and yet you are dominated,
Does it not feel painful?
Oh lovers of my country
Where are you leading to?
Translated by Chandni Guha Roy
feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that one has done or failed to do).
About the Performance :
My notion of nation has derived from the stories told by my grand father. The stories of his life and history played a crucial role in shaping my way of looking at the nation where the past merges with the contemporary and memories creeps into the lived experiences. The harsh even-haunting memories of bloodshed, parted bodies, torture on female mass formed his stories about partition. My imagination of nation is incomplete without his interpretation of how it was created and freed. His participation in the freedom struggle and his tiny sacrifices are marked and underlined in my imagination of nation forever.
This performance খেদ/Khēda is a reconstruction of the very act my grand father, Asim Akhanda, performed on the eve of 15th August 1947 at Benaras Ganga Ghat. He sacrificed all his belongings that bore the imprints of his sacrifice for the great cause in the river Ganga on the very day of our Independence. he sacrificed them with a Khed/Regret.